Anxiety Risking our Health and Happiness: Part 2 What’s the Most Effective Treatment Option, Acupuncture, Medication, Counseling, or Combination?
Posted by Christina Pistotnik
In part one of this three-part series I discussed how effectively Acupuncture helps to reduce the amount and severity of anxiety. People who experience anxiety are plagued on a daily basis, by a multitude of symptoms including but not exclusive to: depression, having a sense of impending doom, imminent danger, fear/frightened easily, feeling detached, speeding/slowing of thoughts, easily distracted, insomnia, irritability, impatience, anger, worry, sadness, palpitations, chest pain, flushing, hyperventilation, dizziness, headache, sweating, numbness, dry mouth, upset stomach.
As you can imagine by looking at the above symptoms this would make life difficult to handle. Therefore, seeking treatment to help cope with anxiety is very important. Luckily there are a variety of treatment options available; such as Acupuncture, Anti depressant/anxiety medications, and Counseling. So, what is the best treatment option? Looking at a multitude of studies, I noticed a reoccurring theme…not just one treatment option was best but a combination of treatment was most effective in every case. Lets take a closer look at each combination treatment in order to give you a better sense of which one may suit you the best.
Acupuncture and Counseling
This combination is best suited for those who want to stay away from medication and do things a little more naturally. The most appealing part to this combination is that anxiety sufferers get the help they need without the use of medications that can cause dependency or side effects. Counseling treats more than just the symptoms of the problem by helping to uncover the underlying causes of anxiety based on your unique situation and circumstances. Since anxiety affects each person differently, a therapist can help you understand your anxiety symptoms, why it developed and the condition as it pertains to you specifically, and not generally.
Counselors can provide tools to overcome anxiety and teach one how to use them most effectively.
However, sometimes counseling doesn’t work fast enough to help quell the symptoms of anxiety, fortunately acupuncture can help with symptomatic relief. As stated previously in part one of this three part series, acupuncture helps decrease the stress hormone cortisol while increasing monoamines the feel good hormones. Another added benefit of acupuncture is that it stimulates the nervous system to help anxiety sufferers let go of emotions that are trapped in side the body. This is important to help a person move on from their past experiences so that they can easily live a happier healthier life.
Acupuncture and Prescription Medication
The use of prescription medication to help treat anxiety is a quick way to help with symptomatic relief as well as stimulating the brain to release feel good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. However, medications usually come with side effects that are usually undesirable. Fortunately when acupuncture is added to treatment protocol it helps medication work to the best of its ability while reducing side effects experienced and preventing anxiety/depression to re occur, as seen in a 2013 study published by the Journal of psychiatric research.
A study conducted at the University of Tucson Arizona showed that acupuncture has the ability to increase levels of monoamines (neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) and their receptor site sensitivity. Many prescription antidepressant/anxiety drugs increase monoamines as well but adding acupuncture to medication therapy will increase its effectiveness. Therefore, the combination yields superior patient outcomes.
Prescription Medication and Counseling
This combination is widely used due to the fact that in this part of the world it is most well known to medical professionals. Therefore, usually this is the first line of defense that family physicians will suggest. While prescription medication only helps to deal with the symptoms of anxiety by releasing feel good hormones adding counseling to treatment will deal with the root of the problem. As mentioned earlier counseling also helps one understand their anxiety and develop tools that are most suitable for each individual needs to cope with daily life stressors effectively.
It is important to note that if you are taking medications for anxiety you must take them regularly even if you are starting to feel better. This is because relapse can reoccur with symptoms worsening.
Seeing the Light
A lot of light has been shed recently on mental emotional problems and how important it is to seek out treatment in order to deal with everyday life more effectively. Whatever, treatment option you choose you will be much happier because having the support you need will make a positive impact on your life.
Qu, Shan-Shan, et al. “A 6-week randomized controlled trial with 4-week follow-up of acupuncture combined with paroxetine in patients with major depressive disorder.” Journal of Psychiatric Research (2013).
Allen, John JB, Rosa N. Schnyer, and Sabrina K. Hitt. “The efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of major depression in women.” Psychological Science 9.5 (1998): 397-401.